The dumbest thing I’ve ever done is something that I regret, after almost twenty years.
Its nothing major, just one of those things in life that you do and that later on in life you question yourself. Why did I do this, why did I not listen to my conscience, and what would have happened had I not done this, made this decision and how would my life look now?
In all honesty, had I gone in the other direction in this choice, the chances are most likely that I would not be sitting here in San Francisco writing this. I would have never met my boyfriend turned husband, and my life may have looked very different.
I sometimes think on this, and wonder what kind of person I would be. Who would I hang out with, who would I date, where would I live, what would the relationships with my family and loved ones be like in this alternate world?
This choice, which since I made it at the young age of 17, is still something which haunts me, and rears its head at times. It wasn’t something that I thought much on at the time, but it is a choice that I consider after all these years to be particularly dumb, and one that took me out of where I could see I should have gone, and sidetracked me for years.
The dumbest thing I’ve ever done was listen to my father when he said he wouldn’t let me study the photography course at a great visual arts university back in Sydney in 2001 when I graduated high school.
It was my top pick in all the degrees I selected, and I recall being so excited and anxious about it as a possibility.
Being asked to make important decisions about life at the age of 17 is absolutely heinous in my opinion.
I know this may seem like something that is inconsequential and just a bit first world problems, and that I was never in any physical danger, but I consider my listening to my overbearing and strict father in this instance to be the dumbest thing I have ever done.
Because of it, I missed out on what could have been a great opportunity for me, especially as a wide-eyed kid from suburban Rhodes in the outskirts of Sydney’s Inner West. To be thrown into such an explosion of creativity could have done wonders for me at such a young age. I missed out on what potentially could have been a colourful and exciting time, a time for experimentation, evolution and growth. I honestly feel that I could have been excited about life, and not to mention had met some great people, and been a part of something.
I regret having listened to my dad for these reasons, and because of it I decided to take the 2nd choice, which was studying Communications at the same University as my sister, at the University of Western Sydney. A far cry from the buzzing with artistic energy inner-city campus of COFA in Surry Hills, the campus I went to was spread over acres of grassland and bush, and yes there were kangaroos sometimes. It felt a bit sparse. It was a far cry from the busy halls of COFA. I recall going to visit friends studying at the lush and busy University of Sydney and having pangs of envy.
Luckily, however, I met some new friends and became close to them. They were great people and I counted myself very fortunate to have made some friends there. There was, truthfully, at times a disconnect, however. Clearly I came from a super-Middle Class background, complete with a private education, something of which I recall my uni friends ribbing me about, and justifiably.
The truth was, however, that my heart wasn’t in it. What was a 3 year degree turned into a 4 and a half degree for me. I failed classes, I never showed up, preferring to stay home in bed till 2pm, I deferred for a half a year as I was simply bored of it all and would have rather worked more, paid my rent and sat around during the week.
Adding on to this the fact that my parents were going through a [verging on violent] divorce, me coming out as gay, working crap jobs in restaurants with touchy-feely relatives and not to mention a whole lot of undiagnosed depression, meant that academically, I was quite a lost soul. It’s a wonder I even managed to graduate.
I recall finally finishing this degree, and not even bothering to attend the graduation. I missed the cutoff to go.
I really didn’t give a shit at all, to be honest. By this point I had lost any and all interest in the degree and what I was studying and that university. I was back at my old family home now with only dad living there as mum had left. All my friends had graduated and moved on. It felt really lonely being there, at uni and being back home. It wasn’t a great time for me.
The thing is, however, had I not attended this course and listened to my dad, I would never have then gone on to study at the small arts college in North Sydney about a year or two from finishing my previous degree.
I finally got the chance to study what I wanted, and to be in a creative environment.
And, it’s also where I met my now husband, who I’ve been with for 9 years now.
I guess there’s a reason for everything. I’m not one for religious faith, but perhaps in this case it wasn’t the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, but perhaps maybe the best thing I’ve ever done.